What is a pre-application advice service?

Arun District Council provides a pre-application advice service to provide prospective applicants with an opportunity to address planning issues before submitting a formal planning application. This should lead to planning applications being determined economically, efficiently, effectively and most, importantly, more expeditiously.

A fee may be payable for this service, dependent upon the category of the proposed development, please refer to the separate fee schedule on the website https://www.arun.gov.uk/pre-application-advice

Benefits of a pre-application advice service

  • An opportunity to understand the way that a planning application will be judged against relevant policies and guidance.
  • Identify any modifications which may be necessary for the development at the earliest possible stage to secure the best chance of obtaining consent
  • Identifies where there is a need for additional or specialist consultation and/or information; e.g. listed buildings, trees or landscape, ecology drainage, contaminated land, etc
  • To ensure the submission of an application that includes all the necessary information required to enable a speedy determination by the Council.
  • The submission of a planning application following pre-application advice will receive priority checking providing the applicant clearly quotes the pre application reference in the section of the planning application form relating to pre application advice.
  • Savings in time and money for you by making necessary changes at an earlier stage.

Scope of the pre-application advice

The pre-application advice service is solely for proposals that require planning permission. Applications that do not require planning permission because they fall within permitted development, will continue to be dealt with by submitting an application for a Lawful Development Certificate for an Existing Use/Development’ (CLE) or an application for a Lawful Development Certificate for a Proposed Use/ Development (CLP).

If you are unsure whether your proposal falls within ‘permitted development’, visit the Government Planning Portal at www.planningportal.co.uk for guidance.

Advice on listed buildings enquiries will continue to be given without a charge except where these type of enquiries would require a planning application. If this is the case, the fee will be dependent upon the category of the proposed development.

Fees for the pre-application advice enquiry

For pre-application enquiries there will be varying charges for different categories of development dependant upon type and size. Please refer to the separate fee schedule on the website https://www.arun.gov.uk/pre-application-advice

How do I use the service?

  1.  You can contact us by using the pre-application planning advice enquiry form which can be downloaded from our website: https://www1.arun.gov.uk/aplanning/OcellaWeb/preApplicationAdvice2
  2.  While it is not essential to provide formal plans, the more information that is provided (as detailed on the form), the better informed our response will be. Sketch plans with dimensions will suffice for household /other category of development. For larger applications, plans and drawings will be extremely useful. Photographs are very useful.
  3. Applications must be accompanied by the correct fee. Cheques should be made payable to ‘Arun District Council’ and correspond to the amount shown on the fee schedule. It is possible to pay online using a debit or credit card on our website https://www1.arun.gov.uk/make-a-payment/start and selecting Building, Planning and Land and then Planning Pre Application Advice. You must quote the online reference number which will begin OWPRE.
  4. Pre application advice enquiries submitted in paper format can either be made by letter or you can request a paper application form and it should be returned to Planning, Arun District Council, Arun Civic Centre, Maltravers Road, Littlehampton BN17 5LF

What service will I receive?

  1. On receipt of your enquiry with the correct fee, you will be contacted by letter within 5 working days and given details of the Case Officer. Your Case Officer will assess your enquiry (which may include a site visit) and will aim to give you a written response within 40 working days. Exceptionally largescale Major Developments should also receive a written response within 40 working days or a longer time scale if the applicant is in agreement.
  2. An unaccompanied site visit may be carried out by the Case Officer as part of the consideration of your enquiry. It is recognised that in some instances there could be a need for an accompanied site visit, for instance to gain access to the site and in those cases an accompanied site visit can be arranged. However, this accompanied site visit would not be an opportunity for a meeting to discuss issues or point out features on site. If you do not want to have a site visit carried out, you must indicate this on the pre-application advice enquiry form but this may affect the quality of advice given.
  3. The written response from the Case Officer will outline the planning history of the site, all relevant policies, internal consultee advice if this has been requested and paid for, recommended contact list of external consultees and the Officer’s opinion on the acceptability of your development proposal together with a checklist of information to be submitted with a planning application. The written advice will be approved by a Senior Officer and any advice will be a consideration in determining a future planning application.
  4. A meeting can be arranged following a written response from the Council. If other officers are required to attend the meeting, this will be charged at £60 for each additional officer.
  5. Minutes taken by the applicant/agent at a meeting can be sent to the case officer who will agree them or make any amendments if necessary. The minutes will also be reviewed by a senior officer. If following this review, it is necessary to amend the pre-application advice, a further letter may be sent and will accompany the agreed minutes.
  6. Once a written response is issued by the Council, any response to further correspondence will be at the Council’s discretion, depending on the nature of the further enquiry. This may necessitate submission of a new pre-application enquiry.

Limit of our advice

  1. Please note that the advice given cannot provide any guarantees that any subsequently submitted application or any application amended in line with advice, will be granted.

Consultee advice

It should be noted that advice will not be sought from the external statutory consultees in considering your pre application advice enquiry. However, the Council’s written response will recommend additional external consultees that you may wish to contact prior to submitting an application. You should be aware that some of these external statutory consultees may also charge for this advice.

The following is a contact list of the more usual consultees. It is not an exhaustive list.

For highways advice contact West Sussex County Council Local Development Section on 01243 642105 or through their website https://www.westsussex.gov.uk/roads-and-travel/information-for-developers/pre-application-advice-for-roads-and-transport/

For flooding/drainage contact Environment Agency through the National Call centre on 08708506506 or through their website https://www.gov.uk/guidance/developers-get-environmental-advice-on-your-planning-proposals

For development affecting a public sewer contact Southern Water through their website https://www.southernwater.co.uk/developing-building/planning-your-development

For development affecting International/National Wildlife Designations /Protected Species contact Natural England through their website https://www.gov.uk/guidance/developers-get-environmental-advice-on-your-planning-proposals

Councillor involvement

Councillors will be informed of pre application advice enquiries. You can contact a councillor if you so wish to notify them about your proposal from the outset.

However, it should be noted that Councillors on Planning Committee are limited in what they can do or say in order to avoid prejudicing any future decisions they may take.

Freedom of Information Act and Environmental Information Regulations

If the Local Planning Authority receives a request, under the Freedom of Information Act (FOI) or Environmental Information Regulations (EIR), to disclose information relating to pre-application enquiries they are obliged to do so unless the information is deemed exempt under the Act.

We can only withhold information under FOI or EIR if the information falls under one of the exemptions (FOI) or exceptions (EIR) set out in legislation.

If you consider that your advice request is confidential you should first seek legal advice and inform the Council as to the advice received at the time of submitting the pre-application planning advice application where confidentiality is an issue. However, whilst we will take account of this information, the final decision on whether the information should be withheld rests with the Council.

Data protection

All personal data will be stored in accordance with legislative requirements of the Data Protection Act 2018 and the General Data Protection Regulations 2016. Please refer to our Privacy Notice for Pre application advice for details on how we will handle your data

Further help

For help with making a pre application enquiry, please contact the Technical Support Unit on 01903 737711.

For all other enquiries contact Arun Direct on 01903 737756